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For employers, an employee's age is much more than just a number

Some say age is just a number or that you're only as old as you feel. While in some respects this may be true, studies indicate that many workplaces don't hold the same view. According to the author of one age discrimination study, many employers are guilty of believing negative stereotypes related to older workers.

For example, older workers are often regarded as being less technologically savvy, "more difficult to work with and more likely to get sick." These negative stereotypes can and, in some cases, are having a detrimental impact on employee as young as 45.

While laws like the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 aim to protect workers age 40 and older from suffering age discrimination in the workplace, such discrimination is often difficult to prove – an issue that became especially apparent during the recent Great Recession.

Research shows that, prior to the recession, employees age 44 and older were "unemployed an average of 4.5 weeks less than young folks". However, post-recession, the tables turned and employees age 44 and older were unemployed an average of five weeks longer than younger employees.

Employees who are age 44 and older have more work experience and therefore often demand a higher salary. For businesses who were struggling financially, employees in this age group were often the first to suffer layoffs and the last to be rehired.

However, proving that an individual's age is the reason why he or she was laid off or passed up for a job can be challenging.
Individuals in the Los Angeles area who believe they have been the victim of age discrimination would be wise to discuss their case with an attorney. An attorney who handles employment discrimination matters can assess one's situation and help determine if legal action is appropriate.

Source: CNN, "Is 45 the new old age in the workplace?," Anne Miller, Ozy, Nov. 14, 2014

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